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Free-Standing & Bulk GaN Substrates for Laser Diode, LED and Power Electronics

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YOLE BulkGan 2013LED applications will become the driving force of the bulk GaN market, surpassing established laser diode (LD) and emerging power electronics segments. However, major changes could occur if 4” bulk GaN price gets below the breakeven price.

In either a cautious or a more aggressive scenario, LED applications will certainly be the key drivers for the bulk GaN market.

There is no doubt that LED technology will take market share over the traditional lamp and tube business. The recent announcements from LED makers (> 150 lm/W now in production) are proving that the performance roadmap is in line with expectations: LED does as well and even better than traditional bulbs and tubes.

Yole Bulk GaN GaN substrate applications November 2013 Report web


Native bulk GaN emerges as an alternative to sapphire or silicon, allowing further improvement of LED performance. Despite potential performance benefits for UHB- LEDs,
massive adoption of GaN wafers remains hypothetical. Taking into account the historical price reductions of bulk GaN substrates, a base scenario outlines where the GaN on GaN LEDs will be limited only to niche markets. If the GaN industry succeeds in replying to the cost pressure from LED makers and the price of 4” GaN wafers falls below the breakeven price, a more significant adoption could be forecast. We see an about three times difference in terms of market volume for LED manufacturing between the two scenarios.

Yole BulkGaN Penetration rate
The demand of GaN substrates for LD applications will probably decrease below 20k TIE/yr threshold in the coming years

Blu-ray applications now represent the largest market for blue LD applications. This market will increase in the short term with the arrival of the new generation game stations. However, we believe that this growth will not persist, as more and more people will play games and watch movies online instead.

Despite the recent rapid development of blue and green laser diodes, we see two scenarios for the adoption of GaN based laser diodes for the emerging projector market. The price of LDs is the essential factor to consider.

Combining all applications, the demand for 2” GaN substrates will be more than 2 times higher in the aggressive scenario than in the base scenario. In the best case, the demand would keep relatively stable until 2020.

In R&D, non polar and semi polar substrates have been proposed for LD manufacturing. In principle, the semi polar approach seems to be the most promising in terms of device performance. In practice, c-plane based devices still have better performance.

More than 85% commercial GaN wafers are produced by HV PE, dominated by Japanese companies

Today, essentially all commercial GaN wafers are produced by HVPE, but the details of the growth process and separation techniques vary from company to company – for example, ammonothermal growth at Mitsubishi Chemical, and the new acidic ammonothermeral method at Soraa. Na-flux LPE growth seems promising, but we have not yet seen many GaN devices based on those substrates. It will take some time to convince the device producers. Non polar and semi polar substrates have attracted significant attention. However, the substrate size is still very small and unsuitable for mass production.

As of today, the GaN substrates market is currently heavily concentrated with 87 % held by Japanese companies. Non-Japanese players are currently in small volume production or in R&D stage, too early to challenge the market leaders. Without exception, Japan will continue to dominate the Bulk/FS GaN market for the coming years.

Yole Bulk GaN 2013-2020 Overall GaN substrates market November 2013 Report web
Bulk GaN substrates for power electronics applications, a very challenging mission

The GaN power device industry probably generated less than $2.5M in revenues in 2012. However, overall GaN activity has generated extra revenues as R&D contracts, qualification tests, and sampling for qualified customers was extremely buoyant. 16 out of 20 established power electronics companies are involved or will be involved in the GaN power industry.

Among the numerous substrates proposed for GaN power devices, bulk GaN solution is definitely beneficial to the device performance. However, we remain quite pessimistic that bulk GaN could widely penetrate the power electronics segment unless 4” bulk GaN wafers can be in the $1,500 range by 2020. The main reason is that, GaN power devices are
positioned as a cost-effective solution, between incumbent Silicon and the ramping-up SiC technologies. If the $1,500 cost cannot be reached, then we assume no bulk GaN substrate will penetrate this market…

Table of contents

Executive summary
> Bulk or free-standing GaN substrates Mass-market introduction in various applications
> GaN/xx epiwafer expected specs
> GaN/xx epiwafer usage
> Technical feasibility and  manufacturing cost
> Risk analysis of possible competing technologies
> Roadmap to 2020: sensitivity to dislocation density
> Different type of “GaN wafers”
> GaN substrates players overview: mapping of established + emerging players
> Bulk/FS GaN substrates market price trend up to 2020
> Two scenarios for GaN substrates market: hypothesis
> 2013-2020 overall GaN substrates volume
> 2013-2020 overall GaN substrates market size
> The “If….then…” analysis

Latest noteworthy news for 2012 and 2013
Targeted applications
State-of-the-art of GaN substrates
> Definitions
> Manufacturing of GaN substrates
- Key manufacturing steps for FS & Bulk GaN wafer
- Growth methods including status and trends
- Separation techniques for FS wafers
- Finishing
- Engineered substrate via smart cut ™
- Emerging growth methods
- Non polar/semi polar substrates
> GaN substrates players
- GaN substrates players overview:
Established + Emerging Players, Bulk GaN, Free standing GaN substrates
- Main specifications of established players
- Mapping of established players
- Main specifications of emerging players
- Mapping of emerging players
- Bulk & free-standing GaN wafers:
estimated monthly production capacity 2013
- Non polar and semi polar substrates players and specifications
> Recent known funding in GaN substrates development

Blue and green laser diode applications
> Laser diode applications overview
> Blue laser diode market
- Blue LD possible applications
- Key driver for blue LD applications game stations
- Emerging market for blue LD:
Projector application
- Blue LDs for projector application market: Two scenarios
- 2013-2020 Blue laser diodes market volume
> Green laser diode market
- Current status
- Green laser technologies overview
- Green laser overall possible applications
- GaN based green laser diode: technical challenge of the green shift and recent developments
- 2013-2020 Green LD market for projector application
> GaN substrates market or LD applications
- GaN substrates market: Forecast model
- Estimated blue LDs manufacturing yield: From initial wafer to packaging
- 2013-2020 GaN based LDs market volume
- 2” Laser Grade GaN substrate volume for blue and green LDs manufacturing
> GaN substrates market or LD applications
- GaN based laser diode development: three approaches
- Polar GaN-based laser diodes
- Non polar/ semipolar GaN-based LDs: known recent developments
- GaN based blue and green LD business: known supply chain and agreements
- GaN based LD established players

LED applications
> LED applications overview
> LED market
- Definition of High Brightness LEDs
- Segmentation of High Brightness LEDs
- Cost aspects
- LED adoption
- Current and long-term LED adoption trends
- LED revenue forecast by application
> GaN substrates for LED market
- Different substrates for LED overview
- LED efficiency
- Benefits of GaN substrates
- Challenges of GaN on GaN LED:heat management
- Impact of substrate choice on LED cost: die cost simulation: Sapphire vs GaN, breakeven price analysis
- GaN substrate adoption
- Market forecast model
- Sapphire equivalent die surface forecast
- GaN penetration
- GaN die equivalent surface:
application breakdown
- GaN substrates market volume for LED manufacturing
- Tentative GaN substrates size evolution for led manufacturing
> GaN on GaN LED current status

Power electronics applications

> Power electronics market overview
> Power GaN market
- Three main choices for power electronics applications
- Si vs. GaN vs. SiC: Figure-of-merit
- Existing silicon based devices
- Benefits of GaN
- GaN power devices: possible applications
- From Silicon to GaN: life –cycle of power device technologies, business model
- Power GaN players & related business model
- Established power semiconductor company involvement in GaN and future plans
- Recent M&A, investments and fund raisings in the GaN area
- GaN devices in power application:
split by application
> GaN substrate for power GaN
- Different substrates for GaN epitaxy
- Benefits of GaN substrates
- Impact of substrate choice:
GaN-on-Si vs. GaN-on-GaN
- GaN substrate for PE market: two scenarios
- 2013-2020 Bulk GaN market for power electronics applications: aggressive scenario
> GaN on GaN power devices: current status

Overall GaN substrates market

> 2 scenarios for GaN substrates market
> Hypothesis for two scenarios
> Bulk/FS GaN substrates market price trend up to
> 2013-2020 GaN substrates volume
> 2013-2020 overall GaN substrates market size

General conclusions

Companies cited

Air Water
Alpha & Omega AOS
Ammono Avogy
Dow Corning
Dowa Electronics Materials
Dynax Semiconductor
Fuji Electric
Fujitsu Semiconductor
GaN Systems
Hitachi Metals
International Rectifier
LG Electronics
Mitsubishi Chemical
Mitsubishi Electric
NGK Insulators
NXP Oclaro
Osram Opto Semiconductors
Seoul Semiconductor
Sumitomo SEI
Texas Instruments
Toyoda Gosei
Vishay (US)
VisIC (IS)
Xiamen Powerway



  • Main players and emerging players
  • Detailed analysis of GaN substrate uses in the following applications: blue and green laser diode for Blu-ray and projector, LED, power electronics
  • Volume and revenue forecasts up to 2020
  • Analysis of production cost
  • Projection of substrate price to 2020
  • Scenario analysis of bulk GaN market depending on GaN price